Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension
On February 14 there are lots of gifts exchanged between people who want to show their affection, respect or love. The National Confectioners Association estimates that 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates will be sold for Valentine’s Day. If you want to indulge your Valentine with chocolate, give chocolate covered strawberries as a more healthful alternative.
Chocolate and strawberries both contain antioxidants, which are thought to improve immune function and lower the risk for infection and cancer. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed in simple body processes and can increase upon exposure to environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution or chemicals. Free radicals can damage cells and increase the risk for cancer, artery and heart disease, cataracts, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C… Make sure the strawberries are dipped in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plant-based foods…
For more information about the benefits of strawberries and dark chocolate, see the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.